UPDATED October 28, 2011
Our Halloween fun—be it costumes, decorations, pumpkins, party supplies, or treats—all has to go somewhere after the season is over.
Did you know that if half of kids swapped costumes instead of purchasing new ones it would save 6,250 tons from going to the landfill? And that’s just costumes! Read our story on Green Halloween, an organization promoting environmentally friendly celebrations. Also see our ideas in Hallowgreen.
SCGH asked you, our readers and social media followers, to share your ideas for an eco-Halloween. Here are contributions from readers as well as SCGH staff members:
- Check out a shop that buys and sells used costumes. —Jerry L.
- Swapping costumes! Lots of families are getting into decor swaps, too! (Not just for Halloween, but all holidays.) —Corey Colwell-Lipson
- Instead of buying a treat basket, grab an old pillowcase, kids love to see if they can fill it up! —J. Blalack, SCGH
- Have an old-sheet drive in the community or go to Goodwill. ALL ghosts can be recycled. —L. Singley, Bearlin Acres Farm
- Arrange post-Halloween pumpkin collecting and composting for your neighborhood. Make it a fun event by having a contest for the best jack-o-lantern before composting them. If you have residential composting in your city, this should be easy. Other places that may have composting services include community farms and gardens or, if you’re an eco super star, you can start one in your own backyard! —J. Blalack, SCGH
- My 8-year-old niece wants to be a bat (not Batgirl, but a bat). I took her to the thrift store, where we purchased a black pillowcase and a thick placemat that was black on one side and tan on the other side—for less than $2. The pillowcase was cut open to one big piece of fabric, and cut into the shape of two bat wings. The top was sewn with two sleeve holes, and the placemat material is used to make ears to be tied onto a headband. Cheap and a fun project to do with my niece! —E. Lam, SCGH
- Maybe go without decorating for a year and put that money toward a food drive for the community pantry … or have a garden gleaning meal to start the fall season. —L. Singley, Bearlin Acres Farm
- Instead of using paraffin candles that emit soot and toxins, try an eco-friendly soy candle. —Charlie Heck
- I always DIY [do-it-yourself] my Halloween costumes. It is a lot of fun, allows for creativity too. This year I got my fabric for my costume from buying two shirts at Goodwill and taking them apart and resewing them into what I wanted. I look for the fabric remnants at the fabric stores that are leftovers. Bought used boots and reused parts of old costumes, and I am incorporating those into the new one! —Kimberly Garbacz
- Make decorations from old newspapers/cardboard and paint them with leftover latex paint from the house, or tint them with food coloring. —L. Singley, Bearlin Acres Farm
- We give out our old magazines to the trick-or-treaters. … We [also] support the Bat Conservancy; their magazines are quite popular with the trick-or-treaters, along with old National Geographic and nature-oriented publications. I also have given away a lot of odds and ends—usually office supplies from conferences—amazingly popular. (Kids think a pad of Post-it notes is really cool!) —Mary Catherine Alford
- Think of the ’60s when few people had money. Did they even decorate? Maybe for a year [without decorations] and put that money from decorations toward a food drive for the community pantry … or have a garden-gleaning meal to start the fall season. —L. Singley, Bearlin Acres Farm
- First and foremost, don’t buy plastic junk from overseas! Buy vintage decorations, and use natural decor that you can cook or compost later. —Holly Hamilton
- Only get outside decorations from farms—for instance, pumpkins and corn shocks, corn ear bundles. —L. Singley, Bearlin Acres Farm
We asked you for great ideas, and we got them! Thanks for participating in greening Halloween, and have a wonderful celebration this weekend and Monday.
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